Reconstruction of the Worldview of Ancient Turkic Runic Texts in the Middle Ages

Nurila Shaimerdinova

Reconstruction of the Worldview of Ancient Turkic Runic Texts in the Middle Ages

(55th Meeting, 2012)

Investigation of ancient Orkhon monuments from the position of cognitive methodology reveals a picture of ancient Turkic world; it also helps to understand the mental world and the most important value meanings of ancient Turks. The picture of the world is something like a figurative representation of the world, which occurs in the human mind due coding objects of reality. The picture of the world or the model of the world of ancient Turks is recreated through study the language of monuments and cultural materials, artifacts (walls of temples, on which depicted campaigns and battles of ancient Turks, stone fences with plant patterns and zoomorphic images, steppe bulbuls, sculptures of men and animals, chapels). On the basis of frequently repeated binary/non-binary lingual units of texts of Kul-tegin, Bilge-kagan, Tonu-kuk, Ongin monuments we have an opportunity to reconstruct a model of the world of the ancient Turks. Some of the following expressions are related to those units: Teŋri, Umaj -Jer-Sub (Tengri-Umai and Earth-Water); tört buluŋ (four corner); öŋjeki-qurjaqy (East – West); jyrjaqy-berjeki (North – South); üst-asta (up – down); öŋden-qurdan (foward – backward); jaqyn-uzaqy (near – far); kün-tün (day – night); berden-jyrdan (from the right – from the left); saryɣ-qaryɣ (light – dark); kök-qara (blue – dark); ata-uruq (ancestor – descendant); jarqan-meŋgü (created – eternal); jalqy-üküs (singularity – plurality); аz-üküs (scarcity – numerous); qaɣan-bodun (Kagan – congregation); kentü-jat (one’s own – another’s); аqlaqčy-kišig (elder – junior); tirig-ölüt (life -death); čyɣai-baj (poor – rich); alp-er (hero – men); tegüt-süŋüš (campaign and battles); еr oɣly-qyz oɣly (male – female); türük bekleri-sübašy (Turk beks and warlords); türük-tabɣ(Turks – Tabgach – Chinese); türük- türgeč (Turks – Turgesh); türük-qyrqyz (Turks – Kirgiz); türük-toquz-oɣuz (Turks – Tiguz-oguz); türük bile jat bodun (Turks and other peoples); tizilig-bašlyɣ (having knees – having head); joqčy-šyɣytčy (crying – grieving); balbal-meŋgü taš (bulbuls – the eternal stone); Qadyrqan jyš-Ötüken jyš (Kadyrkhan earth – Otuken earth); Temir qapyɣ-Ötüken jer (Iron gate – Otuken earth).

Classifying these concepts some of value meanings of the picture of ancient Turks’ world are revealed:

  1.  Concepts of ancient Turks about universal categories of time (ata-uruq, tirig-ölüt, jarqan-meŋgü and etc.), space (tört buluŋ, öŋjeki-qurjaqy, jyrjaqy-berjeki, berden-jyrdan and etc.) and quantity (jalqy-üküs, аz-üküs and etc.);
  2. Spiritual beginning or religious beliefs of ancient Turks (Teŋri-Umaj, Jer-Sub);
  3. Problems of social character:
    • the way of Turks life and protection of one’s own territory (čyɣai-baj,  tegüt-süŋüš, Temir qapyɣ\, Ötüken jer, Qadyrqan jyš);
    • the rule of Turk Kagans and the problem of power (Qutluɣ qaɣan, Qapaɣan qaɣan, bilge ton-uquq, jablaq qaɣan, biligsiz qaɣan,  qaɣan-bodun, türük bekleri-sübašy etc.);
    • the recreation of heroic image of personalities, protectors of Turk earth (Kültigin, Küli-čor, alp-er and etc. );
    • the struggle with external enemies and relative ethnos (kentü-jat, türük-tabɣač, türük- türgeč, türük-toquz-oɣuz,  türük-qyrqyz and etc.);
  4. Ancient Turks’ traditions and customs (joqčy-šyɣytčy, balbal-meŋgü taš).

Each of these concepts of ancient Turk model is semantically analyzed.